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The sweet, tangy, spicy and sour flavours that burst into your mouth building an emotion of rich flavours, complementing almost every dish and cuisine since ancient times, are enjoyed and loved by all. To your bewilderment in history, pickles were considered a luxury, indicating families who served pickles were rich enough to hire a supporting staff and live a royal life. But the question arises, Are Pickles a Condiment? we will talk in-depth about this further.
The originality and use of pickles vary greatly with the countries and the consumers. It is paired with a wide range of dishes like sandwiches, pasta salad, bacon, meat, hot dogs and much more. Pickle has different names, tastes, and types and the preparation process in every other country flattering the food along with it.
1. What are Pickles?
To your amazement, the word ‘pickle’ comes from the Dutch word ‘ peel or Northern German poker’ meaning salt and brine, the two most highly important ingredients used in the making of pickles. The process of making pickles is known as ‘pickling’ and the result is called a pickle. Pickling is done to extend the shelf life of food using anaerobic fermentation or dunking in vinegar. We have a variety of pickles to be consumed, all made up of different vegetables and herbs with certain health benefits. We have sweet pickles, dill pickles, pickles relish and butter pickles adding flavour to your meal and making it wholesome.
2. What Is a Condiment?
It is a substance which is used as a side dish to add more flavour and enhance the other food items. Condiments are filled with strong flavours which can be preserved for days without it going bad. Different spices such as garlic, mustard, mustard seeds, salt, sugar, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, pepper, olive and other vegetables are used in the making. The use of different sauces imbibed in the preparation of pickles adds flavour. The sauces used are fish sauce, tomato sauce, soy sauce, barbecue sauce and hot sauce.
3. Are Pickles a Condiment?
Hitting the main question here, are pickles a condiment? The definite answer will always be yes. Pickles are highly served as a side dish along with other dishes because they are filled with nutritional herbs and health benefits. Pickles are one of the preserved foods which can be enjoyed even with weather changes.
They are filled with various spices, sauces and vegetables and they never disappoint when it comes to fantastic taste and flavour. In many places of the world, pickles are so loved that they are substituted with famous dips like ketchup, mayonnaise and tomato sauce.
This combination of spicy, tangy, sweet and sour dishes is cooked in a very easy manner. Usually, pickles are created by dipping vegetables or even fruits in an acidic liquid or saltwater brine unless and until they are no longer raw and can be enjoyed with your meal this process is known as ‘Pickling’. Cooked with various methods we get butter pickles, dill pickles, sweet pickles and pickle relish. Each one of these differs in taste, toppings, and texture and is served and eaten separately.
People are very particular with their choice of pickle and how they like it to be eaten as a condiment. Pickles can be eaten with other foods like with plain rice, sandwiches, french fries, bread topping and other foods. This is because the strong flavours of a pickle are known to complete your meal, some people even have a ‘no meal without pickles’ policy.
4. Different types of Pickles as a Condiment.
4.1. Sweet Pickle
A sweet pickle relish is a combination of a sweet and sour pickled cucumber prepared with the process of pickling. Pickling happens to vegetables, meats, fish and fruits. Thinly cut cucumbers and sweet onions are used as the main ingredients and other ingredients used are vinegar, salt, sugar and mustard seeds. It can easily be refrigerated in a tight jar for up to 2 months. They are immensely enjoyed with hotdogs, burgers and olive salads.
4.2. Dill pickles
This is by far the most famous kind of cucumber pickle, it gets its name from a ‘dill herb’ used in its making. The fresh dill herb is added to either a salt brine or a vinegar brine with other strong flavours like mustard seeds, garlic, sugar and pepper sauces. It can be refrigerated in an airtight jar and highly compliments other foods like bread, sandwiches and tacos.
4.3. Butter Pickle
It is also known as ‘Bread and Butter Pickle’. Made by pickling cucumbers, onions and chilli pepper. Ingredients used are soy sauce, mustard, vinegar, turmeric, cinnamon sticks and cloves. These are enjoyed with hamburgers, plain rice and french fries and even your breakfast eggs.
4.4. Pickle Relish
A relish is a cooked product made with chopped vegetables, herbs and fruits. Generally, the term relish is used to define a single variety of finely chopped cucumber relish. It is also sometimes made with tomato sauce to add extra flavour. It is served with salads, muffins and quiches.
5. Additional Items Considered as Condiments
5.1. Soy Sauce
It is one of the traditional condiments excessively used in Asian countries to impart flavour as well as help in digestion. Soy sauce originated in China and is vastly enjoyed there. It gives the dish an extra touch of sweetness, umami and saltiness.
5.2. Barbeque Sauce
When you hear the word barbeque sauce, grilled chicken or smoked meats automatically pops into your mind. This is because barbeque sauce is thick and rich in strong flavours and is believed to add a delicious layer of spiciness, tanginess and sweetness making the dish more appealing. This is prepared using hot sauce, onion powder mustard, olive oil and sugar.
5.3. Chili Pepper
Fresh or dried chills are used to make chilli paste, used in almost every household to add spice and tangy flavour to the meal and other dishes. Chilli pepper is used to make condiments like hot sauce, chilli sauce and chilli paste. These are used in the making of curries, barbeque and dry dishes.
This old condiment is consumed in almost every part of the country and enjoyed too. It is a sweet puree of tomatoes, onions, peppers and flavoured with vinegar, herbs and pickling spices. Ketchup is usually enjoyed with french fries, pizza, burgers and noodles.
5.5. Fermented Fish Sauce
This is a liquid condiment made with the help of fish or krill that has been covered or coated in salt and fermented for a longer duration, almost 2 years. Fish sauce is overused in the cuisines of Rome, Greece, China and Japan. The sauce is used to dress vegetables, salads, and soups and also to marinate meat and chicken.
5.6. Pickle Relish
It is a jam-like condiment which can be spread on bread or toast and can be enjoyed during any part of the day. This is made from cucumbers seasoned with vinegar, salt, sugar and spices to kick in extra flavours. The texture of relish is similar to chutney or chow-chow bringing flavour to bland food.
This incredibly hot and spicy condiment isn’t made for all to consume, you need to have a high spice tolerance for it to be eaten. It is a paste made from the ground rhizomes of a wasabi plant also called ‘Japanese horseradish’ with green food coloring added. It is accompanied by sushi, plain and fried rice and sometimes even ramen topped with extra toppings to cut off the excess spice.
This sweet-sour combination is a bomb of a condiment, especially loved by the sweet tooth. It is highly eaten with muffins, crackers, bread and pastries. Jelly is a soft elastic product made up of gelatin, fruit juice and boiling sugar.
6. Pickles are a Condiment
Now that we know we have a wide range of condiments to add in extra flavours to our meals yet there are still condiments like mayonnaise, butter and different types of cheese that are not qualified as condiments, but are still used to enrich the flavours of a meal with wide changes in taste. These are used in the same manner as any other condiments and provoke a kick of taste.
Choosing a pickle of your choice becomes a little tricky as the varieties offered in the market do not seem to end. All these pickles come with separate taste, texture, quality, spices and much more. Yet this is what makes pickles one of the best condiments, which can never go wrong with any food item and does not disappoint the consumer.
Pickles as a condiment add that kick or punch to your food at any part of the day, having pickles will never allow you to have a boring meal. Giving an upper hand, it is filled with health benefits so consuming pickles can never turn out bad. It is highly enjoyed by people of any age and preference because one can easily change the taste and species of a pickle as per their choice. With the preparation process being so easy and its shelf life being so flexible you do not have to worry about it going bad, just enjoy it with your food till finished and then make some more!